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Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O'Keeffe

ARMZ

(Odessa; US: 30 Oct 2012; UK: 30 Oct 2012)

You probably know Mikael Jorgensen as the keyboard and piano player for Wilco, but he also makes music with Greg O’Keeffe as part of the band Pronto. ARMZ, however, is the first single Jorgensen is releasing under his own name, and it’s a great first shot. The 7-inch gives us Jorgensen and O’Keeffe’s synth instrumental “ARMZ”, which takes the twanging shuffle of Americana and filters it through gauzy electronics, sometimes narcotic and swirlingly huge, and sometimes with an 8-bit, peeled back charm.


Side B features “Where to Begin”, a remix of Jorgensen’s “Love Drug” but with North Carolina outfit WAUMISS, and it is just as strong. The song trades instrumental overwhelming haze for ghostly vocals and ringing guitars. It’s a sepia-toned bittersweet tune, emotions awash in hazy atmosphere, the perfect overcast counterpoint to the day-glow bliss of “ARMZ”. Both songs prove that Jorgensen is not just a great composer and sideman, but a great musician and communicator who, with partner O’Keeffe, crafts arresting soundscapes that not only display personality, but also leave room for brilliant interpretations by others. Time to keep an eye out for Jorgensen’s life outside of Wilco.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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